You ache all over. You are not sleeping. You seem to be forgetting things, and your overall mood matches the Grinch who stole Christmas. And you have been feeling this way for months. Is it the stress at work? Blood sugar ups and downs? Or something more chronic? Do not rule out a condition called fibromyalgia, while there are many reasons for your symptoms.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that’s related to pain in areas of tenderness and bones, the muscles, and fatigue. It’s a condition which affects anywhere from 5 to 10 million Americans, but it’s also hard to diagnose because the symptoms are subjective — significance, there are no tests which can diagnose this disease.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
As mentioned above, symptoms include:
• Regions of pain or tenderness at certain areas within the body (frequently called trigger points or tender points
• difficulty sleeping or sleeping for long stretches at a time without feeling rested
• Memory issues (“fibro fog”)
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Trouble focusing or paying attention
• Pain in the gut
Fibromyalgia can go hand-in-hand with other chronic conditions, also, such as:
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Interstitial cystitis
• TMJ (temporomandibular joint issues)
• Rheumatoid arthritis
What causes fibromyalgia?
Experts aren’t exactly sure what causes fibromyalgia. In fact, until more recently, fibromyalgia was brushed off from the medical community because it’s really difficult to diagnose and it is hard to treat. Fortunately, fibromyalgia is now being taken more seriously.
Factors which may “trigger” this condition include:
• Physical or psychological trauma (it is linked with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD)
• Infections, such as the influenza
• Genetics (the condition may run in the family)
• Anxiety (physical or psychological)
If your body is under any kind of stress, your nervous system jumps right into “fight-or-flight” mode. Your muscles and connective tissue stressed up to provide more power (so that you can do conflict or run off). After the “stress” is gone, the nervous system relaxes and return to normal. Not so with fibromyalgia. It stays stuck in fight-or-flight mode. With time, this may lead to widespread muscle pain and tender areas, and lead to the other symptoms mentioned previously.
Who receives fibromyalgia?
Certain factors may predispose you to getting fibromyalgia. These variables include:
• Family background: There seems to be a genetic component to the condition
• Gender: Girls are eight to nine times more likely to get this condition than men, likely due to rising and falling levels of estrogen (and this condition occurs more frequently in women going through menopause). But men and even children can get this ailment.
• Age: According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), fibromyalgia mostly affects people over the age of 18; most individuals are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
• Rheumatic disease: Someone with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, lupus, or ankylosing spondylitis may have a higher risk of fibromyalgia
• Diabetes: A meta-analysis published in the journal Rheumatology International in September 2017 looked at statistics from more than 3.5 million individuals. This information showed that fibromyalgia appears to be more prevalent in individuals with certain diseases including Type 2 diabetes. More specifically, almost 15% of individuals with Type 2 diabetes had fibromyalgia. A separate research conducted in Israel found fibromyalgia to be prevalent in individuals with Type 1 diabetes.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
There is no laboratory test or x-ray that investigations this illness. And because symptoms of fibromyalgia are very similar to other conditions, it may take a frustrating quantity of time to diagnose. Plus, symptoms of the condition may wax and wane.
The American College of Rheumatology guidelines for assessing fibromyalgia list widespread pain throughout the body for three months as a criterion. Widespread describes pain on both sides of the body, and pain both above and below the waist. And, you need to have other symptoms besides the pain, such as tiredness, difficulty sleeping, etc.. Ultimately, other conditions that may be causing the symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis, depression, or multiple sclerosis has to be ruled out; you will likely need to get a physical examination, blood tests, and x-rays to exclude other issues.
How is fibromyalgia treated?
If you have fibromyalgia, you will likely require a multi-pronged approach to treating it. Treatment may include:
Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help with muscle pain. Antidepressants, such as duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) may also assist with fatigue and pain (and lift your mood, also). Also, anti-seizure medicines, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica) can offer pain control. The FDA has approved Cymbalta, Savella, and Lyrica for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Massage treatment: Massage in regions of pain, such as the shoulders, can offer relief and improve mobility. Additionally, massage helps promote comfort, which, in turn, can provide you a degree of control over your condition. But it is best to find a massage therapist with experience treating individuals with fibromyalgia to avoid worsening pain. Check out to find a qualified therapist in your region.
Acupuncture: Acupunture has had mixed reviews in its ability to aid with fibromyalgia. But it may be well worth trying. If you aren’t finding relief after quite a few sessions, then it probably isn’t going to be helpful for your symptoms.
Physical action: Being active may be the very last thing you feel like doing in case you’re tired and in pain. But more than 400 studies have shown that exercise is extremely helpful in reducing pain — even more so than drugs. Focus on more gentle types of physical activity, such as walking, tai chi, or yoga for symptom relief.
Nutrition: There is no “fibromyalgia diet,” but eating healthfully can fuel your body and help provide symptom relief. Foods containing vitamins C and D, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, may be useful. It can help to listen to certain foods which may be triggering your symptoms. By way of instance, some people find that milk foods or meals which include gluten or monosodium glutamate (MSG) may worsen symptoms. Think about working with a dietitian to assist you pinpoint possible trigger foods and develop an eating plan that is right for you.
Anxiety relief: Taking steps to reduce stress is important. Along with being physically active, you may find that getting aid to sleep much better, meditating, or even working with a mental health specialist are ways to lower your symptoms.
Do your best to keep an open mind about trying a variety of approaches to supply you with relief. If one approach doesn’t seem to help, try something different. And, in case you have diabetes, keep checking your blood sugars and working together with your diabetes care team to assist you manage your diabetes.
Wish to learn more about fibromyalgia? See “What Is Fibromyalgia?” and “Fibromyalgia Treatments.”
The article Fibromyalgia and Diabetes: Is There a Link? Appeared first on Diabetes Self-Management.